Sunday, December 25, 2011

Anticlimactic

Every year before opening gifts, my dad reads part of Luke 2, the Christmas story.  We had a Christmasy pandora station playing this morning, as we woke up and finished getting breakfast into the oven.

Every once in a while, this station plays movie scores. A dramatic score started up just as my dad found the right page in the huge white Bible. We tried to just ignore the music as dad read, but that didn't work out so well. The music swelled and built up, and in the movie you knew something important would be happening, that you wouldn't be able to peel your eyes away from the screen.

But, in the story we were reading, it seemed anticlimactic. At the point in the movie where the villain would sweep in and attack-- a governor orders a census. When the hero would be sweeping in-- a baby is born. During the huge fight scene-- the baby is put in a manger. When the hero is recuperating, getting ready to attack at just the right time-- shepherds show up.

For the first time, it struck me how particularly odd God's plan was.

And just because the music didn't seem to match up, this was pretty important. There is a subtle difference between 'anticlimactic' and 'a sneak attack'.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Timewasters

There are so many things that I do that don't really need done. Even while I'm doing them, I'm rolling my eyes wishing I'd just stop, and do something that actually needs to get done. Because there is a lot that needs to get done- in a week and a half all classes and finals for the semester are over, and its time to careen into Christmas break, my short trip to England (!), and then back for school again. Too much to do.

And yet, here I am, tapping my fingers all annoyed with myself.

Creating new playlists in iTunes, and renaming old ones
Changing the artwork for the music in iTunes to paintings by Renoir and Monet
Making sweet iced tea (ok, this one isn't a timewaster at all. This is perfectly acceptable)
Learning about copyright laws, and the presidents, and whatever else seems interesting at the time
Rewriting everything I have left to do for the semester- over and over and over in different places
Trying to keep five different book lists updated. They are all the same books, just in different places.
And, well, blogging about how I keep wasting my time.

I'd like to say I'm off to do some homework, but in all likelyhood I'll keep changing the artwork on iTunes...

Monday, December 05, 2011

I've just put in six interlibrary loan requests, and there are only two weeks left until school is out until mid-January.

Now, that wasn't very well planned out, was it?


What are your reading goals for the last month of 2011?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

For How Much Have You Been Forgiven?

I've been living as if I've been forgiven little. Jesus said if you have been forgiven little, you love little; if you're been forgiven much, you love much. You appreciate things more if it costs more, and it impacts your life more.

And I've only been loving God a Little until recently. I've never struggled with what our culture deems 'taboo sins', and I've always felt as if I don't have much of a testimony. God kept me from those sins, sure, but that's not the same (and quite less dramatic) in my mind. I've struggled with a plethera of others, but I've been good about hiding them. They are all small, anyway, right?

But all sin is the same to God- its detestable, intelerable. Even my little sins would cast me into hell if it weren't for Jesus' sacfrifice. Don't forget that.

You need to see you're a slave to sin before Jesus seems like good news to you. 'Cus if your sins aren't quite big enough to push you over the precipice, what do you need Jesus for, anyway?

All Christians have been saved and freed from sin- (so we need to carry them no more with us)- and we've all been forgiven much.

But how much do you perceive you've been forgiven?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Manvember

or, No-Shave-November. Here's a video advertising the month-long, campus-wide event:



cute, yeah, but... wrong? Yes, I think it is wrong.
Growing a beard doesn't make you a man.
Getting your mancard punched doesn't make you a man.
Asking a girl out doesn't make you a man.
Knowing how to open doors doesn't make you a man.

Well, not according to God's standards anyway.
For Him, and hopefully Christians in general, the things that make you a man are more like
showing respect to all people
defending the widow and orphan (ironic, then, what happens at the beginning of the video)
and using your life to glorify God.

Go ahead and grow the beard, and do all the other things MRL is sponsoring this month, just be sure you don't get fooled into thinking that suddenly, now you're a man. Search the scriptures and find out what is on God's list- what things would God have on the mancard?- and let those define your manhood.

Friday, November 04, 2011

chapel woes

Everyone's been talking about how great chapel was this week.
But I think they think it was so good because the speaker uses a lot of humor. I like the humor, don't get me wrong- and its satire, even, which can be more fun.
And his messages to us are good, and worth hearing (even if slightly hidden behind all the jokes).
But why is it the students here only seem to talk about the speakers who are funny? Why don't we encourage our friends to come to chapel to hear the speaker tomorrow, because he was so great yesterday,
when the speaker is serious, and convicting, and challenging?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Why??

I intended to look at some sites for lines of modest clothing to get some ideas and see if there were ways to adapt some of the clothing I have in my closet to make it more modest. Christa Taylor was mentioned in a book I'm reading, so I tried to find her website, but instead I found out that a year ago her store had closed down.

So, I thought I'd just do a Google search for modest clothing for women. Three quarters of the pictures were of fully covered women from the Middle East. The other outfits looked like tent-ish clothes draped carelessly over a girl. Not feminine at all. Is that really what people think of as modest clothing- and thats it?

The next search for professional clothing for women didn't go so well either. After each of these attempts failing, I gave up.

Do you have any suggestions for better search terms? Or, possibly a site that has modest clothes for women? Insight requested!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Frightened

We watched this video in class today before we learned about students who are emotionally and behaviorally disturbed. Not gonna lie, I cried. Its times like this I don't know if I can stand being a teacher. When I realize how difficult it will be. When I see all the negative parts of the job. I mean, I know how important it is for good teachers to be out there, but sometimes I don't know if I can handle it. It frightens me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Acrostic

Psalm 111 is an Acrostic poem, which means the first word of each line starts with the next letter of the alphabet.

And this morning I was in a poetry mood, so I wrote an Acrostic poem and decided to share it with you:

Almighty God
Blessed be your name.
Continually I seek you,
Determined to bring you praise.
Every morning I rise in worship
Fervantly bring my prayers before you.
God, make yourself known to m:
However long I must wait for you
I am willing
Just give me assurance of the answer to my prayer.
Keep me close to you,
Let me wander not far, or
Meander steadily away.
No, instead give me an
Obsessive
Passion to
Quiet my soul before you,
Rest in your presence,
Search your heart, and
Tediously work to live by your Spirit
Until the day I come home to you.
Victorious, God, your
Warriors are victorious over sin, in your Name.
eXpelling sin from their lives and working to bring
Your kingdom to Earth.
Zealous are we, for you.

Friday, October 21, 2011

You Should Carry Your Camera With You, And Actually Stop To Take Pictures

On campus, along this one path, there is a row of maple trees. In the fall, the leaves red and purple and a little orange. I love walking past them because they seem to be glowing. I left for a long weekend, and when I was back, the trees were bare. The leaves were in dark burgundy lumps on the ground.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Can't Complain

It seems that as soon as I start following a blog,

they stop posting. 

But, its not like I post frequently

and keep up with my blog, either

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Student

Sometimes I don't want to be a good student. I don't want to read the textbook. I don't want to pay close attention throughout the whole class. I don't want to take good notes. I don't want to study hard for quizzes and exams. I don't want to come to class fully prepared.

But then I realize the irony, because I'm an education major. And of course I will expect my students to do the assigned readings, and pay attention, and take notes, and study, and come to class prepared. So, I end up doing those things because it feels fake to not do them, with the intent of requiring them of others.

But that's not good enough. I should have more of a sense of obligation, no? I should have a better work ethic. We are called to do our best at whatever we do, to try to be the best at our job. And right now, my job is Student. And the type of work I do, shoddy versus exemplary, represents Christ.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Green Thumb

I have a green thumb.

thats what people say when they are good at growing things.

I don't have a green thumb.

thats what I say about myself.

because batch two of my garden is dying out, and I can't seem to keep those stinkin' plants alive.

maybe I'll try again in the spring, with fresh seeds.

maybe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

motivation

my mind races
     my heart rejoices
          I'm eager to see this work
it could work
     really- it could!
          and it would be wonderful
                and life would be better
but I forget about it
     later that week
          or later that day
                or later that hour
and its lost.
     and now it wont work.
          because I never gave it a chance.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

not so simple

you've got it figured out!
     it all makes sense
          you understand!

and then in a heart beat
     in horror
          you realize
               you don't

Monday, September 19, 2011

growing (again)

try two!

because almost all the plants from try one died.
and I'm still not sure why.
Some possibilities:

~there are rocks at the bottom of the pots, and the pots are small. Maybe the roots reached them, and couldn't find dirt and drink and nutrition? there's a parable about that, you know...
~I watered them too much. once, twice, a day. because they're right there, and on my mind. Out of sight out of mind, but when you can see them, you're thinking of them.
~too cold. I mean, the're right next to the air conditioner. And you usually grow plants in the heat of spring and summer.
~not enough light. the only windows we have face north. Which isn't ideal, I've heard. And one of the pots was pretty much without direct lines to sunlight (accident!).
~aaaannndd, I'm finding bugs in the dirt. NOT good.

no idea if any of those are real reasons why my plants died.
but, I'm watering less, and I moved the large pot precariously onto the windowsill. We'll see how long they survive this time!
The seed packets said to expect seedlings in 10-14 days for some, and 14-21 days for others. I must have picked overachieving seeds because they started showing after four days. Should I be worried??

Oh, and I've added daisies! I got two packets from a friend, and just planted them today. I can't wait!

Psalmish Links

I'm in love with this Psalm. 
Read it. I know you are planning just to skim over it, or ignore it all together. Dont. You really should read it. 


I've only begun memorizing the beginning, so I've only got links for that. If you've got any links this psalm makes you think of, comment them, and I may add them!


63 

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; 
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,*
when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

 But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

isn't it great???


*anyone know how to get rid of the highlighting?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It Would Be Cool

to write book reviews in the same style and tone as the book itself had been written

wouldn't it?

Monday, September 05, 2011

eggeshells

So, the first salad seed I planted was doing great! It was green, and getting (relatively) large. But then yesterday I went to water it, and it was small, and dull, and withered.

I have no sure idea what it was, but I have a hypothesis. A guess.

Remember those eggshell starters?
When I transplanted them to the larger pots, I squished the eggshells and broke them. That'd be enough for the roots to get through- right?
Apparently, not.

I went through all the plants, then, and tried to carefully take them all out of their eggshells and put them back in their pots. I'm hoping I didn't hurt any of them, because most of them are still incredibly small. But, as I pealed the shells off the dirt, I noticed the roots, spiraling around inside, unable to break through these things I had intended as fertilizer. Hopefully its not too late!

Another garden update: there are things growing in all the pots now! The parsley, oregano, chives, different salad types and  cilantro all have little green parts coming out of the dirt! Excitement!

Slightly Unrelated, here is a song by Hawk Nelson. I thought of it because of its title...

Saturday, September 03, 2011

how to start off the school year rightly

-attend the campus wide Block Party, play human fusbal, climb the rock climbing wall twice, go on the bungee jumping thing (no idea how else to explain it...), and play the obstacle course twice, each time making it a relay
-bleach shirts with a spray bottle with everyone else in your apartment complex

-buy a neat looking decal for the wall
-cover your couches with sheets so they match the 'color scheme' of your living room
-find a place to put the herb garden you brought
-find a place to put up all your postcards from postcrossing.com
-go to a bonfire
-intend to get a head start on homework
-make a Roommate Bucket List, which includes things such as 'name apartment' (suggestions???), and 'slide down stairs in laundry basket (still not sure if I'm participating in this one...)
-practice speed reading
-read 'Story of an Hour', and 'Killings' for your literature class
-take a nice nap, that was only half as long as you'd thought it would need to be to get the rest you needed
-toss a frisbee around with friends
-watch more movies than you have time for
-watch the class competitions 
-water your plants obsessivly, and motherly
-wear a skirt, because its too hot for pants, and shorts aren't allowed on campus before 4:30
-write a letter to your sponsored child
-write 'bout it all on your blog

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And It Goes Tick-Tock


You may remember that last month I said I wanted a necklace clock?

Well, I have one!
It was a beautiful gift, and I intend to wear it as much as possible.



Monday, August 22, 2011

Solution

In response to a past post.

Those things aren't bad in and of themselves.

Reading, writing, drawing, watching tv, hanging out with friends...

But when they take the place of the other things, thats when there's a problem.

Bible reading, meditation, prayer, accountability, study, sharing the good news, your secret quiet place.

When they become the dominating things in your life, when thats all you do, when those are all you care about, and the things you pine for. Thats when there's a problem.

Start with what God wants in your life, and only that. Take out everything else, and don't expect any of it back. (yikes).  Then, in time, see what God gives back to you. Maybe you do read too much, maybe reading less  is okay. Maybe you do obsess about your latest writing project too much, and should tone it down and back. Maybe you really are obsessed with that tv show, and it takes too much of your time (not just the watching it, but the always thinking about it).

Maybe, you don't really need those things in your life. Maybe they are trying to fill a spot in you that would actually be filled if you put God things in your life first, and then looked at what else could fit. Woah. Maybe, you don't really need those things in your life. Maybe they are trying to fill a spot in you that would actually be filled if you put God things in your life first, and then looked at what else could fit. 

Seeds Grow

I love gardens.

So, I'm taking one with me to college. I shall find somewhere, I hope, in our apartment, that can be their home.

Some pictures:

My first little lettuce popping up

Chives, transplanted from my mother's 

The chives again, several days later, and with most of the dead parts cut out.

The second lettuce growing, after I took out the first one. 

This is that first lettuce again, right after moving it to a larger pot.
You can't see all of it, because it is partially hidden in dirt...
You can see white around the plant- its an eggshell!

My eggshell starters for the other plants I'll be growing this semester.
When they start growing, I'll move the whole shell into a larger (but still smallish) plastic pot.
Hopefully they won't outgrow their second homes!
Cilantro, Oregano, Parsley, and Lettuce (assorted kinds)
It takes time for seeds to grow, but they do. If you take care of them right. And even when they're growing, it will be some time before you can harvest them, or see them bloom.
Seeds you plant in your life are the same. The words you speak, the words spoken into you, the things you watch and listen to. What you read, what you think about, what you spend time on. You will see these seeds grow, in time. Some good, some bad. Pull the weeds as soon as you can, and stop planting them. And in their place plant some beautiful seeds that will grow, and whose harvest you wont mind collecting.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Justification

what is the purpose in reading, and in writing even?

It wont eternally save lives, either of them.

So, why do I bother?

I could be spending the time in other things.

In worthwhile pursuits.

Like Bible study

Like prayer

Like love and encouragement

Like cooking, or cleaning, or spending time with someone who needs it.

Reading takes time.

Writing takes time.

(and I'm not writing an allegory.

or a novel that's explicitly Christian

that could save lives eventually. maybe.

But I'm not)

Time that could have and should have

time that ought to have

been spent doing something worthwhile.

So, how do I justify those things?

And how do you?

Friday, July 29, 2011

thrift store + library =

I've got a whole new collection of books this week. From both the library and the thrift store, though the ones from the library are only borrowed, not bought.

Library
Modern Homestead by Renee Wilkinson (nonfic)
-It looked interesting, and I think there are things in it that I would like to add into my latest writing project. I've started it, and I'm super excited

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages (fic)
-I've seen it on the shelves of many libraries, and it always catches my eye. The Greek writing on the cover intrigues me. I finally picked it up, and will read it during vacation.

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke (fic)
-its the sequel to Inkheart, which I read a while ago. I've been meaning to pick up the massive second installment for some time, and I finally did.

Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke (fic)
-the third book in the Inkheart series. I decided to go all in.

The Thief Lord (fic)
-I read this several years ago with my old library's Parent Child Book Club, and I've been meaning to reread it for quite some time because I think I will appreciate it more this read. As a side note, when I brought these books home my sister and I were talking, and she pointed out that they were by the same author- something I hadn't noticed at all! So, I look forward to the totally different types of book styles, read within a week of each other.

Thrift Store
Another sister and I made a beeline for the book section of our thrift store the other day, and we looked through the more recently published books, not finding anything either of us was interested in. Its always a gamble. Then, we moved on to the Shakespeares and classics. For a while, I thought I would be leaving empty handed, and then book titles started jumping out at me. I came home with:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (fic)
- I actually don't know much about the story, but many people have been astonished that I have not yet read this book, so I picked it up as soon as I saw it

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (fic)
- A Jane Austen- you can't go wrong

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (fic)
- I know a little about the story line, but not much. Again, I've heard the characters are wonderfully written, and I am excited to read it for myself.

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
- Another classic that I have wanted to read, but never have. Once, I bought a copy of it cheap somewhere, only to get home and realize its an abridged version. I don't like reading those, because you cannot really say you've read the book. So, that one has sat on my shelf untouched, but this more recent find will soon be read.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

books to movies

I recently (about ten minutes ago) found out (here, and the GreenBeanTeenQueen's blog) that The Invention of Hugo Cabret (my review) was being turned into a movie- and scheduled to come out at thanksgiving! I am super excited, and couldn't wait to show you the trailer.



how do you feel about the movie, from what you know about the trailer and the book? Do you have any opinions about books made into movies? Have you read Hugo?

*book giveaway!*

And here it is, the book give away.

I am giving away a copy of Sharon M. Draper's novel, 'Out of My Mind'!

Its signed, too. An autographed copy- think of that! (NOTE: I didn't have the book with me when I met Sharon M. Draper, so she signed a label that I put in the book.)

And, it could be yours!

You have to do two things to enter to win the book- that's it!

Let me explain before I tell you requirement number one.
When I met Sharon M. Draper, she was our speaker for a writing workshop. One thing she suggested was revise-revise-revise-revise-revise-revise-revise-revise-revise-revise..  Another of her tips was 'specificity'. Keep those in mind both in your future writings and in the following 'challenge'. One of the activities Ms. Draper had us do was to listen to some music, and describe the colors we saw. Later, we added a scene to the music. So, this is your challenge:

1. Pick one of these songs (One, Two, Three) and, in the comment section below, include
-(your name and email address, obviously, in case you win)
-the song you chose
-two colors you see in the first minute of the music



2. You must tell people on your own blog about this book give away, with a link to this post. If you don't have a blog, email me and we'll see what we can come up with (mariedevreis@comcast.net).
-Also, include a link to where you posted about this contest in your comment

This contest ends at 12 o'clock noon Central Time on Saturday August 6th. Make sure you're entered by then! Gook Luck!

UPUDATE::THIS GIVEAWAY HAS BEEN EXTENDED ANOTHER WEEK. IT WILL END ON AUGUST 13TH AT NOON. 

(Some fun, rather random, links: here, here, and here)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sharon M. Draper Interview

Marie: Are any of the characters in your books based off people you know?

No, I made them up.  Sometimes fictional characters can seem so real that the reader might think they are real people, because good fiction is based on reality.  But the characters in my books are just that--fictional.  I start with a character who grows and develops as the book progresses, so that even to me he or she seems real by the end of the story.  But they only exist in the pages of the book.

Marie: Do you listen to music as you write? Why or why not?

No, I need complete silence.  I can’t even stand the sound of a fan blowing or a TV in another room.  I do, however, incorporate music into everything I write.  I use a lot of musical imagery because I think melodies make strong memories in the mind of the reader.

Marie: What do you do when you get a 'mind block'?

I rarely get them.  My biggest problem is writing down all the words fast enough.  If, on accasion, I get stuck, then I shut down the computer and go shopping!  Retail therapy is always effective and fun.

Marie: Time and money aside, what would you rather be doing?

I love what I do.  No two days are ever alike.  I get to write, travel, read, sleep late, go to the beach, or do nothing at all.  I’m blessed.

Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?

I’d bring building tools, the complete works of Shakespeare, and a satellite telephone so I could be rescued!

Marie: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?

I love writing realistic fiction for teens.  That seems to be my strength.  I like creating charcters that seem so real that the reader wants their phone number so they can call them and talk to them.

Marie: Could you tell us three random things about yourself?

I can’t swim.  I love Hagen Daaz ice cream.  I’ve met President Obama.  I prefer being called Sharon M. Draper.  The M is important.  Ok, that’s four.

Marie: How long have you been writing?

Tears of a Tiger, my frist novel, was published in 1994.  But I’ve been writing all my life.

Marie: In an average week, how much time do you spend working on your writing?

If I’m in a “writing” week, I get up at 4 AM and I write all day.  I collapse around seven or eight.  Then I get up and do it again the next day.  I’ll do this for may two-three weeks solid.  I can get the core of a book done in that time.  Then I go back and revise and refine.

Marie: Can you tell us anything about a current project you are working on?

I’m working on a new book, as yet untitled.  It’s a teen trauma drama., very powerful. 

Marie: What is the first thing you do when you get a new story idea?

When I start a new book, as I did this summer, I write down my story plan—names of characters and their general physical descriptions, the setting, the basic plot idea, and the problem that will drive the story.  Then I sit down a wait for the words to come.  They usually do—in buckets and waves.  It's amazing.

 Marie: How do you decide if an idea you have for a story is worth keeping?

All ideas are worth saving.  Not all ideas will become books, but each idea is valid and important and may come in handy one day.

Marie: What obstacles would you warn beginning authors of?


Thinking you’ll get rich quick.  You won’t.  Thinking you’ll get a national book tour and you’ll be interviewed by Letterman.  You won’t.  Thinking the first draft is okay.  It isn’t.  Neither is the fourth or fifth revision.  Quality takes time.

Marie: What cool thing has happened lately?


Out of my Mind is on the New York Times Bestseller List!  Incredibly marvelous.

Marie: What question have I not asked that I should, and what is the answer?

One ninth-grade student who was interviewing for the school paper asked me what I thought about the powerful effect my books have on kids all over the country.  I told her, "The proper answer is 'It's very gratifying,' but the real answer is 'awesome!’

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

moments

that you could, hypothetically, relive certain hours in different time zones

that my sister forgot who Jane Austen was (a sister who performed in this year's cousin camp movie of Pride and Prejudice) and, upon further discussion, did not realize said author was dead.

trying to learn maps of the UK, and London, for my upcoming trip there

realizing how soon it is until school starts again.

turning all the lights off in the house, except for one, and listening to a book, while crocheting
having to drop ever so many stitches each row of the blanket, because I lost my crochet hook, and the one I'm now using is fatter, and its messing up the width of the blanket

late-night walks around a block or two, breathing in the fresh air, talking, gazing at stars or clouds with my sister, and my dad

that moment when a song comes on, and you get excited, and then realize its not the right song, but only one that starts out the same

that moment when a song comes on, and you've been trained to think its the pseudo- song that sounds like that one you like, but really, its the right one.

listening to A History of London

meeting my 1,000 words-a-day- quota for my newest project three days in a row. Yes, the first three days, but you've got to start somewhere

looking at pictures of cousin camp, and only remembering the wonderful, incredible, good moments
waking up early. after going to bed early.

hanging out with college friends- going to a movie, then tubing/skiiing/boating, then sleeping late(ish)

hatching a plan to meet with a second cousin for a movie night, since we havn't gotten together outside of family gatherings since we were kids going to the sci-tech museum

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lois Lowry Interview

tMarie: Are any of the characters in your books based off people you know?

Lois: None specifically, except for two books…A SUMMER TO DIE and AUTUMN STREET…which are autobiographical. But every fictional character is created out of everyone the writer has known, because that is the knowledge you draw on in creating personalities and idiosyncrasies.


Marie: Do you listen to music as you write? Why or why not?

Lois: Sometimes,. But it has to be undistracting music. I have a collection on iTunes…mostly classical.


Marie: What do you do when you get a 'mind block'?

Lois: I rarely feel that way. But it is important, I think, that the writer stops writing each day at a time when  you know what is about to happen, what comes next. That way it is easy to go back to it. And also, I find that during sleep the mind works on the material.


Marie: Time and money aside, what would you rather be doing?

Lois: Restoring and remodeling old houses.  I wouldn't be RATHER doing it because I love what I do. But it is a great passion of mine.


Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?

Lois: Friends, books, and food, for obvious reasons.


Marie: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?

Lois: Realistic fiction, I think.


Marie: Could you tell us three random things about yourself?

Lois: I have a dog named Alfie and a cat named Lulu.
I have traveled to all seven continents.
My birthday is the first day of spring.


Marie: How long have you been writing?

Lois: Since I was 8 or 9. Professionally, since I was 35. (I am now 74)


Marie: In an average week, how much time do you spend working on your writing?

Lois: 5-6 hours a day.


Marie: What is your favorite part about being an author?

Lois: The solitude and the act of working with language.


Marie: Can you tell us anything about a current project you are working on?

Lois: I'm finishing up a fourth book which will follow THE GIVER trilogy.


Marie: What is the first thing you do when you get a new story idea?

Lois: I open a new folder on my computer and store ideas there.


 Marie: How do you decide if an idea you have for a story is worth keeping?

Lois: If it holds my interest, if I enjoy the writing of it, it is worth keeping.


Marie: What obstacles would you warn beginning authors of?

Lois: Its too easy to spend a lot of time TALKING about writing, and very little time doing it. Sometimes people want to "be a writer" but they can't handle the great solitude and the long hours of work.

Monday, July 18, 2011

cousin camp photos

cousin camp was a little earlier in the summer, and I'm here to share a gathering of photos with you.
This year's movie is called "First Impressions"- its Pride and Prejudice gone Western.
My cousin posted a synopsis of our movie on her blog, so if you're interested, check it out. 

Pa Bennet

Jane Bennet

director

Lydia Bennet

US Marshall Collins

Lydia and Mr. G. F. Wickham

Mary Bennet

Elizabeth Bennet

Jane and Elizabeth Bennet

preparing for the corn husking scene

Doc Bingley's little sister

US Marshall Collins

Darcy's cousin, Chief Fitzwilliam; US Marshall Collins; Mr. Darcy

Chief Fitzwilliam 

Anne de Bourgh

Anne de Bourgh

Charlotte (Lucas) Collins

Mr. G. F. Wickham; Old Mr. Darcy; George Darcy; Director; actress out of costume

Sheriff Catherine de Bourgh


Jane + Doc Bingley and Darcy + Elizabeth, preparing to ride off into the sunset

Ma Bennet

Mr. and Mrs. Darcy

Mr. Darcy
most of the cast, preparing for the barn dance

Saturday, July 16, 2011

hint-hint

Yes, a shameless add for myself :)
There's some pretty cool stuff coming up!

Some pictures, of course.
Some other posts, like the usual.
An interview with Lois Lowry. (yeah, you read that right)
An interview with Sharon Draper. (you read that one right, too!)
A book giveaway- an autographed copy of Sharon Draper's 'Out of My Mind'.

so, I'm just saying, and I suppose I'm a bit biased, but I think you should make sure you don't miss any of it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

something that goes tick-tock

for those days when a watch doesn't cut it

Interview with Kara Bartley

Marie: Are any of the characters in your books based off people you know?
~Yes, many of them actually. With my first novel, ‘The Siamese Mummy’ most of the characters were based on my family and friends. The names were changed but I kept (in most cases) the first letter of my family’s names. For my other three novels including ‘Habock’ I continued to do that, while inserting parts of myself as well. Many of my characteristics and behavioural traits can be found within each female lead. Doing that gave me a closer vantage point—as if I were writing the books from the inside out.


Marie: Do you listen to music as you write? Why or why not?
~Usually I don’t. I find that I get too distracted by music. To me, music is another form of communication—words in the form of notes. And I love music, I’m a pianist. But I find that when I try to listen to music while writing—it’s like someone trying to read to me and I can’t do both. Sadly, I’m not very good at multi-tasking. And yet I can listen to music while doing everything else hmm...I haven’t figured that one out yet....


Marie: What do you do when you get a 'mind block'?
~My ‘blocks’ come in days rather than at certain points of writing. When I sit down to write, I can’t stop. I just keep on going. I have to physically close my computer to stop myself. My ‘blocks’ come to me when I wake up. There are certain days when I open my eyes to the morning and say ‘I just can’t write today’. For whatever reason, those days do happen. Maybe it’s my mind and body telling one another that they need a break. But eventually that passes and I return to my writing.


Marie: Time and money aside, what would you rather be doing?
~If I weren’t writing, I’d be knee deep in dirt and rock. I’d be happily digging up my next fossil. Paleontology is in my blood—that lust for the past will never leave me. It’s what inspired me to write and what keeps me grounded—literally!


Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you
Bring with you, and why?


 ~If I were stranded on an island, hopefully it would be off of the coast Costa Rica. Then I could bring my two favourite novels ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘The Lost World’ and use them as guides to finding dinosaurs and paleo-worlds. Thirdly, I would bring as much Coca Cola as possible to make my desertion thoroughly enjoyable.



Marie: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?

~ Up until now, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing mystery and thriller as with my first three novels. But with ‘The Moon In Habock’s Mirror’, that changed somewhat. I fell in love with fantasy. There was a creative freedom that came with it. Talking animals, awakening the cosmos—there was something very exhilarating about it. I guess I’m torn now, I love mystery but I also adore fantasy. I’ll stick with those and see where they take me.  



Marie: Could you tell us three random things about yourself?

 ~Hmmm...I guess I’d have to say that— 1. My favourite colour is orange. 2. I have a smiling clown fish named Herbit—he’s not real but adorable just the same. My three Siamese cats won’t allow me to keep any edible pets in the house. He’s made of paper mache and sits in a glass fish bowl, looking happy all the time.  3. I have a brown belt in karate.



Marie: How long have you been writing?

~I used to write little books when I was little, mostly about family pets and whatnot. I remember collaborating with friends in elementary school to write a magazine we called ‘The Hairy Canary’. We had big plans, boy did we ever. We were going to bribe everyone in the school to buy one. But alas, our plans did not work.  Creative writing then disappeared from my life when I went off to school in pursuit of science. The funny thing is, that when I was digging fossils in Kansas in 2002, writing found me again. And definitely when I least expected it. And I’m glad that it did. It seems that my life has always been this strange mix of science and creativity. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  


Marie: In an average week, how much time do you spend working on your
Writing?

~I’d say about three or four days. I try to get in as much writing as possible. I work full time elsewhere so sometimes that’s difficult.  I usually write at night—I’m definitely a night owl. And sometimes those nights turn into days and that’s when I have to stop myself and take a break.


Marie: What is your favorite part about being an author?

~As simple as that question might seem—it’s a hard one to answer for me. There are so many facets to writing and being a Libra and all, I have a hard time choosing just one. I think I might have to say—self-expression. I love so many things about writing but using myself as a portal to the written page would probably be what I like the most. The words are born through my mind, driven through my body and translated through my fingers. The result is a part of me donated to others, in the hopes they might appreciate it.



Marie: Can you tell us anything about a current project you are working on?

~I am currently working on the sequel to my first novel ‘The Siamese Mummy’, and I’m having a lot of fun working on it.


Marie: What is the first thing you do when you get a new story idea?
~I just start writing before I forget it. Sometimes it’s at the beginning and sometimes it’s further in. But as long as I write it down somewhere so that my brain doesn’t accuse my fingers of losing it!



 Marie: How do you decide if an idea you have for a story is worth keeping?

 ~I try to keep all the ideas that I have. If one doesn’t work out a certain way, then I just pluck it out and rewire it to work in another scenario. Usually I can find a home for any idea that I have, I just have to change the neighbourhood sometimes.
 

Marie: What obstacles would you warn beginning authors of?
 
~I would warn them of taking too much on. Don’t overwhelm yourself with everything that has to be done. It’ll all get done in time, your time and no one else’s.  



Marie: Which scenes did you find the most fun to write?
 ~For me it would have to be any of the scenes that included dialogue. I love writing dialogue. It could be adventure scenes or emotional scenes, just any part that lets the characters speak out and embrace their external voice.


Marie: What question have I not asked that I should, and what is the answer?
~Maybe, what is your advice to other authors? And my answer to that would be: Do not be afraid to fail. To me, success and failure go hand in hand—each one helps the other improve. They each lend a helping hand to each other.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Moon in Habock's Mirror by Kara Bartley

 Scarlet lives in Canada with her mom, dad, twin sister 'Gweny', dog Odin, and cat Adonis. Scar is the trouble maker of the family, sneaking out at night to go on dates, missing meals because she was busy hanging out with friends or boys. Her parents don't even know half of what she does, but her twin, Gweny, is fully aware, and keeps her sister's secret.
            Life as she knows it changes for Scar when her mom can't handle any more of Scar's nonsense, and grounds her on a Saturday. The other half of her punishment is that she has to clean out the dreaded attic. This tale involves talking cats, time travel, close friends, betrayal, a tragedy during a sixteenth birthday party, and, overall, the moral that, when it comes down to it, all the power and courage one needs can be found within ones' self.
            That was one of the things I didn't particularly like about the book; what I saw as the moral. "True power comes from within (210)". Because, as I've found in my own life, and through watching others, when it comes down to it, you just cant do it on your own. Especially something as monumental as saving the world; past, present, and future. Another thing thing that made the story hard to read was that there were several typos that jolted me out of the story, reminded me that it was only a book in my hand. There was also this strange new-age-y undercurrent that made me a little uncomfortable. Also, unfortunately, there was quite a bit of swearing and misusing God's name.  And, while noting the good in people, the book failed to also reference the evil that is in all people, as a part of human nature.  This is rather hard to do in a novel, I know, but it’s a truth that was neglected.
            And there were some phenomenal things that I loved. At one point, Scar is having some trouble with forgiveness, and she wants revenge. She is advised against taking this other person's life because it is not her job- her job is to protect the innocent, and right the wrongs she can right, but not to punish those who are evil. That job falls to someone else. Another plus was that, although it took some time for me to get into the story and care about the characters, after some time I did- I could hardly put the book down. I also liked the few creatures the author created for the story, I really wanted to see one in real life, not just in my imagination! One of the final things that I will mention that I liked about the book was Scar's imagination. Sometimes she would go on tiny rabbit trails of imaginings, only to be brought back to reality by something. I loved that.